Atlanta was the city, I had been to before this trip. That was for a conference in 1999. Reaching my room on 72nd floor (32nd floor in reality, the numbering skipped several decades) in seconds, opening my room door to a seven feet American bearer and almost staggering with vertigo, long limousines, roads like rivers in spate was all could see in those three days. The only thing I could recollect with any feeling was a barbecue party near a nice lake.That was cool.
I had never given much thought to America. I knew it was (is) a big country. I knew it had a lot to offer when it comes to sight seeing. But all this was on an intellectual level. I was seriously pissed off by the arrogance coming through American establishment when it comes to granting a visa. If it was not for Raja, I would have preferred to visit Europe. After getting rejected once, I spent some tidy packet to get second time lucky for my visa.
|L-R Ujjwal n Shashikant Kirane, Kumud n Raja Desai|
The reality had still not sunk in until we got down to plan more, we were to leave for Phoenix the next day -our base camp for the west coast tour. “Wow, we are actually going now” , I exclaimed.
We were going to stay with Kiranes at Phoenix. Ujwal is Kumud’s friend. Shashikant, was till then just an IItian! We were in for many pleasant surprises.